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Posted: September 7th, 2023

Renaissance epoch in the Christian religion

Renaissance epoch in the Christian religion
Overview of how the Renaissance epoch transformed the Christian religion:
The Renaissance occurred between the 14th-16th centuries, originating in Italy and later spreading to Germany, Scandinavia, and other parts of Europe. This period marked a cultural, economic, intellectual, and scientific “rebirth” or revival of classical Greco-Roman influences. During this time, great advances were made in art, philosophy, religion, and science by figures like Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Copernicus, and Galileo.
The Renaissance brought significant changes to Christianity. While the Middle Ages emphasized humanity’s sinful nature, the Renaissance shifted perspectives to view humans as capable beings with talents and abilities bestowed by God (1). This philosophical shift encouraged exploration and achievement in academics and the arts.
After Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press around 1440, religious scholars like Desiderius Erasmus began translating the Bible into vernacular languages to increase accessibility (2). Their translations emphasized applying Christ’s teachings of compassion to daily life. Martin Luther then used the printed Bible to question certain Catholic doctrines, sparking the Protestant Reformation in 1517 (3).
Renaissance artists also depicted Jesus in new humanistic ways. Earlier works often showed him with closed eyes, implying a peaceful afterlife. In contrast, 15th century paintings portrayed Jesus’ human suffering and emotions during the crucifixion to convey the reality of his death (4).
The renewed emphasis on biblical teachings promoted human dignity and achievement. Scholars no longer saw nature and science as contradicting faith, but rather as means to better understand God’s creation. This led to advances in fields like anatomy by Leonardo Da Vinci that integrated faith and reason (5).
While starting in Florence with a revival of Greco-Roman culture, the Northern Renaissance in Germany and elsewhere focused more on Christianity. This led to divergent developments as the Renaissance spread across Europe and influenced religious thought profoundly. Overall, the Renaissance transformed Christianity by promoting humanism, biblical scholarship, and a dynamic relationship between faith and scientific discovery.

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